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07.10.11

Head of the USPTO is Confused, Defends Software Patents and Patent Trolls

Posted in IBM, Patents at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Kappos

No change, just a lot of words

Summary: The head of the USPTO, David Kappos (above), speaks about the system he now has a lot of influence over. With a fine-tooth comb, the FFII’s president runs through his words.

THE COMPANY behind silent PR and silent lobbying for software patents has had one of its people arrive at the USPTO’s throne while another created the OIN, which in some sense legitimises software patents (it is a double-edged sword, but not so much for IBM). IBM is in favour of software patents because it has so many of them. Kappos himself belongs in the patent lawyers community, those who are leeches to software developers, they are very rarely developers themselves.

“The open source development model is absolutely fantastic,” says Mr. Kappos in this interview, but it goes downhill from there. Let us see how it starts:

Mm hmm. Yes. Software innovation in the open source area has been wonderful, and it has been a breakthrough business model. And great pieces of software, like the Linux operating system, as an example, have revolutionized much of what we do and are the basis for much of our computing on the Internet. The open source development model is absolutely fantastic.

Right. And what’s incompatible with this business model? That’s right, software patents. So it gets ruined from there on whenever Kappos talks about patents. The FFII’s president (Benjamin Henrion) did a fine job picking out the bits where he falters, such as the point where he says:

No matter what the field, whether it’s biotechnology or mousetraps or wheels, gears and sprockets, software

These are entirely different things. Why even lump them together? As Henrion explains:

Kappos uses the hardware equivalence to make software patentable

Henrion adds that according to “Kappos: [it] certainly does not discriminate against any model of software development so that the marketplace can decide” (really?).

“Kappos thinks patent trolls are OK,” Henrion writes, “companies that buy and assert patents are essentially market-making mechanisms” (he must be joking or he is very thick, but it’s likely that he is neither of those things).

“He is probably surrounded by persuasive lawyers, not truly practising staff — those who are busy making actual products, not writing patent applications.”As long as the USPTO is run by a bunch of lawyers with vested interests (like Kappos with his loyalty to a software patents supporter, IBM), all that this US government supports is a small set of mega-corporations sustaining law which is, by design, discriminatory towards the population at large (see the video below).

To end with a quote from Henrion, “Kappos: so I actually don’t see any sort of major change in the area of software patenting” (amazing nonchalance!). IBM could use some prodding and so could Kappos, who has a blog where people who read Techrights can speak to him very easily and directly, hopefully politely speaking some sense into his mind. He is probably surrounded by persuasive lawyers, not truly practising staff — those who are busy making actual products, not writing patent applications. We never insulted Mr. Kappos and in fact we supported his appointment at the time, falsely believing that this was the man who would bring positive change. He failed us all very, very badly.

Professor Lessig, a shrewd American who opposes maximalists of so-called “IP”, gave the following topical talk some days ago (TinyOgg will indefinitely terminate within 4 days, so we apologise for Flash-only video).

United States May Join Canada in Challenging Nortel’s Patent Sale to Linux Foes

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Peace arch in US-Canada border

Summary: “Antitrust officials probing sale of patents to Google’s rivals,” reports the Washington Post, naming action from the American Antitrust Institute (AAI)

IMPORTANT news comes from the Washington Post which suggests that, just as CPTN got scrutinised by the USDOJ, so will the Nortel sale, at least potentially (the AAI has made a start):

The sale immediately raised concern among some antitrust experts. This week, the American Antitrust Institute sent a letter to the Justice Department asking antitrust officials to begin an investigation of the sale ahead of Nortel’s bankruptcy proceedings, set for Monday.

Canadian regulators too are looking at this, so we need not assume that the patent sale is final. Maybe the regulators will defang the buyers by adding a condition such as, “these patents cannot be used offensively.” We saw CPTN facing some barriers tied to the GPLv2.

In our latest daily links we included 2 links that show how Android is growing at the expense of the iPad, share-wise. Apple and Microsoft would love to stop this rapid growth and the only method they have left is the last resort of patent offensives.

Techrights Commends Spain and Italy for Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Roma

Summary: “Spain, Italy file actions for annulment of unitary patent protection in EU’s Court of Justice,” Techrights has learned (documents now available)

IN OUR many past writings about software patents in Europe we named specific politicians whose role seemed to be the promotion of foreign interests for foreign monopolists. Some years ago it was Charlie McCreevy and these days it seems like Barnier carries the baton of shame. We wrote about him here, here, here, here, and various other places. Recently, as described here, even French groups started to expose Barnier (a Frenchman) for his insidious agenda which he masks as “union” “harmony”, “unitary”, and several other euphemisms in this whole tiresome shuffle-spiel. Don’t believe them for a second. They are politicians, and they are pushing an agenda using whatever lies and wording gets the job done for their clients. In this case, the job can also usher software patents into Europe and — in turn — the rest of the world (which mostly must comply with the West due to old-fashioned sanction games).

Based on this informative tweet, “Spain, Italy file actions for annulment of unitary patent protection in EU’s Court of Justice – http://bit.ly/npZ7mm http://bit.ly/rqlmgA ”

“To have software patent trolls in the UK would be the rare exception.”We have made local copies of these documents for future reference (document 1 [PDF] and document 2 [PDF]). This is not the first time that Spain and Italy take the lead on this subject (see the wiki archive), but this time they make it more formal.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, one of the Peer to Patent people (whom we do not fully agree with following their arrival at a country without software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) promises that “[n]ext week, I will discuss the exclusion for computer programs and methods of playing a game, doing business or performing mental acts.” Well, in the UK it was hardly ever a subject of discussion until Symbian (Nokia) did its messy thing, as we covered several years ago. The UK does not really need a debate on the legality of software patents because these patents are, in principle, still outside the remit of the law. Even if they accidentally get granted, this does not mean they will stand in the courtroom. Caselaw basis defends software developers for the most part. To have software patent trolls in the UK would be the rare exception. It provides an incentive for people to develop in the UK and no incentives for patent parasites like trolls and hoarders to be based in the UK. When British developers get hit by a software patent lawsuit (which sometimes happens), it usually comes from a US-based patent troll, likely based in Texas.

“Developers Against Patents” to Start Attacking Patent Trolls; World Wide Web Threatened by Apple Patents

Posted in Apple, Patents at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A campaign is born

Baby plant

Summary: Larry “phpnut” Masters launches “Developers Against Patents” to defend pre-emptively against patent trolls; Apple is still casting a shadow on the W3C

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about actions that can be taken to address the patent issue. We are gratified to discover yet another movement against software patents, going under the banner “Developers Against Patents” and stating in its Web site (registered by Larry Masters, aka “phpnut”, just 10 days ago):

We are collecting name and contact information of individual developers or companies who are interested in forming a group to start suing patent trolls for Declaratory Judgement that our work in the software world does not violate any of their patents.

“[A] group to start suing patent trolls for Declaratory Judgement,” emphasises the FFII’s president, who suggested a reminiscent idea to me some years ago (actually creating a patent troll to try and embargo Microsoft Office). The site is looking for involvement, so perhaps someone can weigh in.

The universe of patent monopolies is definitely getting hit by a wave of bad publicity after lawsuits like this one against Apple and patents like these ones:

Brilliant Digital Entertainment subsidiary Kinetech has its eyes on the digital music industry, announcing that it has been granted three US patents covering content discovery and rights enforcement.

Back in 2009, Kevin Bermeister of Kazaa fame switched focus to legal music alongside former pirate-buster Michael Speck, and BDE acquired Kinetech, whose patents it had been using since 2002.

What only started surfacing a short whole ago due to a page update from the W3C is Apple’s patent menace. It is still threatening the World Wide Web and the W3C, which foolishly gave Apple and Microsoft a chair at the table, only to meet backlash later. Watch what Apple does to the Web:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) this weekend put out a call for prior art that might invalidate two Apple patents potentially keeping the web from using the concepts as standards. The W3C’s Patent Advisory Group is hoping to make Apple either give a royalty-free license for the patents, which cover widget security and safe distribution, or else lose control of the patents so that they can be used royalty-free.

Had Apple cared about the Web, it would have done something. Instead, however, Apple is working to pollute the Web with MPEG-LA patent tax.

Links 10/7/2011: Wine 1.3.24, CentOS 6.0, Scientific Linux Live 5.6

Posted in News Roundup at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • MLAA For Mesa Is Ready For Testing

        When it comes to this year’s Mesa / X projects as part of Google’s Summer of Code, progress is being made beyond just the OpenCL Gallium3D state tracker that’s now capable of building OpenCL native kernels. Lauri Kasanen, the student developer working on Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) for Mesa, has it working!

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.4.2 Beta 1 “Nightshade”
      • KDE Games: Towards an “Active” interface

        The fact that KDiamond is included by default in Plasma Active’s default set of “Favorite applications” (among rekonq-active, calligra-active, and friends) finally made me hack a bit on kdegames stuff again. The main problem I see with KDiamond on a mobile form factor is that menubar and toolbar waste quite some vertical space. Also, the menubar is awful to use on a touchscreen; the toolbar is much better in this regard.

        [...]

        Apps like KGoldRunner or KTuberling just don’t fit the idea behind this proposal and will therefore not be affected.

      • Stripping Down KWin for Plasma Active

        For the usage of KWin in Plasma Active many of KWin’s advanced features are just not needed. For example on Plasma Active we target OpenGL ES/EGL compositing, so the for desktop usage still useful XRender compositing is just unneccessary bloat added to the binary.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • A look at: ArtistX (1.1) – LiveCD (3.6GB)

      Ubuntu is probably the most common for distro’s to derive from, the number of Ubuntu variants is staggering and whilst many can share aspects rendering them virtually identical, the one thing about a distro based on Ubuntu is that there is an accepted (high) level of functionality you can expect out of the box.
      ArtistX is no exception to this continuing trend and here we look at a distro aimed at the creative souls amongst us.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Hardened SELinux state

        Since last post, we’ve been working on the further stabilization and bug fixing of the SELinux policies within Gentoo Hardened. You might have noticed that we started working on the QA of the packages, like I promised in the last post. The binaries within selinux-base-policy are now published somewhere on blueness’ developer page since he’s proxy’ing all my commits until recruiters get the chance to pick up my recruitment bug. Other patches that are coming up will be published likewise as well if they get too big to be within the main Portage tree.

    • Red Hat Family

      • 6.0 Released to External Mirrors

        The internal mirrors will now be opening up for external mirrors to sync from. This may take up to a couple of hours to propagate throughout the system, but external mirrors should start seeing the 6.0 soon.

      • Scientific Linux Live 5.6

        Scientific Linux Live CD/DVD 5.6 has been released for i386 and x86_64.

      • Is Red Hat Breaking Out?

        New York, July 8th (TradersHuddle.com) – Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) closed the trading session at $46.67 just above calculated resistance at $46.47 effectively breaking out, grabbing the attention of momentum traders, which could eventually push the stock to different trading range

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) develops and provides open source software and services, including the Red Hat Linux operating system.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 upgrade

          So I upgraded my Fedora 14 workstation to Fedora 15 last night using the yum update method (I’ve used preupgrade a few times and it’s worked on some and botched on others (mostly due to not enough space on /boot)). Since with other distros I’ve either used apt to do a dist-ugprade or the urpmi equivalent, this is somewhat my preferred upgrade path. I’ve done it before and it worked amazingly well, so I did it again last night using these great instructions: Upgrading Fedora using yum.

          The only gotchya is that due to the replacement of init by systemd, when it came time to reboot, halt/reboot/etc were unable to send the correct signals to something that would shut the machine down, so I had to do a hard reboot (which never plays nice with my RAID arrays, but upon reboot there was no RAID re-sync which is either cool or scary, I’m not yet sure which). So that was a bit nerve-wracking. Otherwise it was just a lengthy process with yum telling me I had 2850 packages to deal with (including installing and removing). Instructions are good and clear. Highly recommended if you’re even moderately technically inclined.

        • Fedora 15 LXDE on a Dell Mini 10v — nice!
    • Debian Family

      • Debian Mozilla team creates a Release archive for Iceweasel
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UCubed

            UCubed, the Ubuntu & Upstream Unconference, is a compact unconference that brings together Ubuntu and Debian users in one place to exchange notes, talk about what they are passionate about and share knowledge and experience. This year’s UCubed happened a few months ago at the Madlab in Manchester, and The H decided to look up organiser, Les Pounder, to see how it went and what’s next.

          • LugRadio Reunion 2011
          • 7th July 2011: Season 6 Episode 1 : 76.00

            Jono Bacon, Stuart Langridge, Chris Procter, Adam Sweet, and Ade Bradshaw get back together after a three year hiatus for a 2011 LugRadio reunion show! Featuring:

            * Social networking: what’s identi.ca’s place in the new world order? Is it free-software-specific, and is that a good thing or not? (1.40)
            * The Devil’s Drink: a quiz with an unpleasant forfeit for getting questions wrong, and which could be construed as a way to make Adam’s life miserable, for which see below (15.45)
            * LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and Oracle: what does it mean that there are now two competing suites, and where do we go from here? (29.50)
            * In season 2 we talked about viruses on Linux and whether they were a problem. Seven years later, we revisit the situation in the light of the rise of Macintosh viruses and say: are we still right to be smugly safe? (44.10)

          • A Cool Dock For GNOME Shell: Unity 2D Launcher

            There’s a new cool dock in town and it works perfectly with GNOME Shell. Actually, it’s not new and you’ve seen it in lots of screenshots or you may even use it already but maybe you didn’t know that you don’t have to run Unity 2D to use it: the Unity 2D Launcher.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • OK Mint you win! I am impressed.

              I am impressed, very impressed. If it is as stable (and so far there is no reason to expect that it is not) as 10.04LTS then I might be tempted to move to my main home desktop to Mint, it will likely become the Distro I recommend when people ask me about “that Linux thing you are always using”.

            • Linux Mint signs a partnership with AYKsolutions

              Linux Mint signed a new partnership with AYKsolutions. The American hosting company is now the 3rd largest Linux Mint sponsor and provides our project with the bandwidth it needs for its repositories.

            • A quick look at Linux Mint LXDE 11

              I do have to say that Linux Mint LXDE makes the lightweight desktop look sexy. The green and grey theme works really well, and the Linux Mint team have obviously taken some time to make sure that their applications have great icons and an overall appealing style. I know that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but aesthetics do go a long way.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Free app turns PCs and Macs into Pogoplugs

      Cloud Engines, maker of the nifty Pogoplug device, has just introduced a software-only version of its cloud-based filesharing and multimedia streaming service. The free app builds Pogoplug functionality into Windows PCs and Macs, letting users share their desktop systems’ multimedia libraries and other files over the Internet, and with a modestly-priced upgrade adds A/V-streaming and transcoding capabilities.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Droid 3 slider phone sports dual-core CPU

          Verizon Wireless announced online availability of Motorola Mobility’s new Droid 3, claimed to be the world’s thinnest QWERTY slider phone. Running Android 2.3 on a dual-core, 1GHz processor, the $200 global CDMA/GSM phone offers 16GB flash, a four-inch qHD display, and both an eight-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture and a front-facing videocam, says Verizon.

        • $100 Android phone does HSPA+, has 4.1-inch screen

          Cincinnati Bell announced a 4G wireless network touting speeds “twice as fast as other national wireless companies,” as well as a new Android phone to go with it. The Huawei Ascend X 4G includes a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 4.2 inch touchscreen, 512MB of RAM and 2GB of flash storage, GPS, and a five megapixel camera with geotagging, the company says.

        • It’s Android/Linux, Folks!

          This confuses the idea that the kernel is the OS, something the rest of the world has known about for ages. The kernel is Linux. The distro/operating system is Android/Linux!

          There is a video from an Android developer describing the operation of Android. In it he explicitly states that an Android process is a Linux process (4:00).

        • Six Signs Android really isn’t Linux
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Stampede of Tablets

        There’s more evidence that Android/Linux is about to overtake the iPad as it did the iPhone. 50% of shipments of tablets in June in Taiwan were non-iPads.

      • Asus Eee Pad Slider will tip up this Autumn

        The Slider is one of Asus’ Android Honeycomb tablets that we’ve all been waiting for, for a long time. The exact date is yet to be confirmed, which Asus said it will reveal, along with pricing, later this month.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 13 tightens up WebGL security

        Chrome 13 is currently available in Google’s beta channel for the Chrome browser. Google says it is supporting the Enable-cors.org project which seeks to promote the CORS-enabling of sites with public content.

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Visio import filter – round shapes are beautiful
    • New VirtualBox Beta Has PCI Pass-Through Support

      Just a week after Oracle released VirtualBox 4.1 Beta 1, the second beta for this forthcoming feature release of the former Sun virtualization stack is now available. The VirtualBox 4.1 Beta 2 release has various bug-fixes since the first beta, but for Linux hosts it also introduces PCI pass-through support.

    • OOo! There’s a New Podling in the Nursery Incubator

      The Apache OpenOffice.org (incubator) project was born on Monday, June 13, 2011. Delivery was complicated. The baby’s doing fine.

      Following the June 1, 2011 announcement of the license grant from Oracle to the Apache Software foundation, there was extensive discussion over the proposal for acceptance of OpenOffice.org as an Apache incubator project. Before the June 10 voting began, 207 edits had been made to the proposal. Discussion leading up to the vote swamped the public mailing list used for consideration and oversight of incubator projects.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • How open source tools can create balanced learning environments

      “Free,” “open” and “libre” software has been a buzzword in media and technology spheres alike. A lot of heat surrounds its implementation, especially in developing countries. While there is much confusion concerning how open source can be used to leverage the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) and its impact on the areas of implementation, there is one definite sector where open source can be guaranteed to produce magnificent results when properly used.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Successful use of DDE!

      We are happy to announce that DDE has been successfully packaged for Arch Hurd! This means that we now have the ability to compile drivers from Linux 2.6 for the Hurd.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open government data to fuel Kenya’s app economy

        From Brazil to France to Australia to India, new laws and platforms are giving citizens new means to ask for, demand or simply create greater government transparency. The open data movement has truly gone global, with 19 international open data websites live around the globe. This week, the world will see another open government platform go live in Kenya.

  • Programming

    • git commit
    • The Polite Fiction of Numbering

      One reason people debate so hotly the naming of “Perl 6″ is the magic tied to a version number. I’ve written many times that “Perl 5 can never break backwards compatibility in a radical way because it’s never broken backwards compatibility before.” That’s a common belief. It’s also a common belief that it’s only okay to correct some of the flaws of Perl 5 (especially missing defaults) by breaking backwards compatibility and signifying that change by incrementing a magical version number.

    • Java 7 Release Nears

      After years of development, delays and ownership changes, Java is ready for its next major release.

      The first release candidate for Java 7 was released this week, with general availability expected by the end of the month. In order to help celebrate the launch of Java 7, Oracle hosted a global event on Thursday highlighting the key features of the new language release. It’s a release that brings Oracle together with rivals IBM and HP to evolve what has become the most influential programming language for enterprise application deployments.

      “Probably the most significant thing is the fact that we’re finally shipping it,” Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle said. “It has been almost five years now and for various political and business reasons this release has taken some time.”

Leftovers

  • Windows 7

    When I first got my new laptop (Thinkpad!) I removed the copy of Windows 7 Professional it came with and replaced it with Fedora without even having booted it up. I haven’t used Windows in a good while and certainly haven’t used Windows 7 for any extended period of time; whenever I install it or say “I’ll keep the Windows partition on there” I just don’t ever boot into it. So I gave it a try. I installed Windows.

    One interesting thing is that I installed a completely blank copy of Windows 7. Now, a completely blank copy of Windows actually comes with nothing. No drivers. Not even a dancing pigeon. It was (and sometimes still is) a common complaint that Linux had/s poor hardware support, but by default Windows sat upon my Thinkpad looking like a dumb child without a clue.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks is the New Red Scare

      I founded and lead RevolutionTruth, a growing, global community and organization dedicated to defending WikiLeaks, whistleblowers, and legitimate democracies.

      RevolutionTruth defends WikiLeaks – not because WikiLeaks is perfect or uncomplicated. The WikiLeaks (WL) phenomenon is indeed, very complex. We defend them for two primary reasons: First, the way the U.S. government has responded to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is alarming at best, and very dangerous, at worst. The U.S. government’s response to WL is so extreme, it has signaled a willingness to change U.S. laws on espionage, in order to ensnare Julian Assange.
      What does this mean? It means severe curtailing of the “free” press. A press that is already highly compromised, in its corporatized, sanitized state. If the U.S. government has its way, journalists could be forced to reveal their sources, and anonymous leaks of classified information could (i.e. instances of whistleblowing) will be considered “espionage.”
      If we allow this to happen, you can say goodbye to the last of our democratic freedoms. Freedoms that have been profoundly weakened since the year 2000.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Canada’s Net Neutrality Enforcement Failure

      Two years ago, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission conducted a much-publicized hearing on net neutrality, which examined whether new rules were needed to govern how Internet providers managed their networks. While many Internet users remain unaware of the issue, behind the scenes Internet providers employ a variety of mechanisms to control the flow of traffic on their networks, with some restricting or throttling the speeds for some applications.

      The Commission unveiled its Internet traffic management practices in October 2009, establishing enforceable guidelines touted as the world’s first net neutrality regulations. Where a consumer complains, Internet providers are required to describe their practices, demonstrate their necessity, and establish that they discriminate as little as possible. Targeting specific applications or protocols may warrant investigation and slowing down time-sensitive traffic likely violates current Canadian law.

      While there was a lot to like about the CRTC approach, the immediate concern was absence of an enforcement mechanism. Much of the responsibility for gathering evidence and launching complaints was left to individual Canadians who typically lack the expertise to do so. Nearly two years later, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) posts an investigation into the system that reveals those concerns were well-founded.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Law Professors Urge Congress to Reject PROTECT-IP Act

        Over 100 professors who teach and write about intellectual property, Internet law, innovation, and the First Amendment are urging the members of Congress to reject the PROTECT-IP Act of 2011 (S. 968). The bill would give the government sweeping authority to take websites offline, remove websites from search engines, and bring infringement claims against Internet publishers.

        The professors have signed onto a letter written by Stanford Law School’s Mark A. Lemley, the William H. Neukom Professor of Law and director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology; David Levine, assistant professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS); and David Post, professor of law at the Temple University Beasley School of Law. The letter outlines the group’s concerns that the bill, as proposed, is unconstitutional and potentially disastrous to the structure of the Internet and to U.S. thought leadership.

      • Smear Campaign Ramps Up Against Those Who Believe Free Speech Is More Important Than Hollywood’s Obsolete Business Model

        When the entertainment industry got the usual suspects to push the PROTECT IP Act forward, the story around DC was that this bill was a slam dunk. Who was possibly going to resist a bill against evil “rogue” sites that were stealing our jobs and “ideas?” When Senator Ron Wyden put a “hold” on PROTECT IP, we were told by supporters of the bill that this was just a phantom protest and the bill was going to pass easily. It might still… but, it appears that some are beginning to get worried. After all, since the bill came to light, the complaints against it have been pretty clear and pretty loud — and not from lobbyists, but from the actual people who understand it (much of the “support” from the bill comes from lobbyists).

      • ACTA

        • The European Parliament loves secrecy?

          This afternoon the FFII has requested minutes of European Parliament Committee meetings on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). ACTA was concluded in December 2010 after three years of confidential negotiations. The European Parliament now confidentially discusses whether to ask the Parliament’s legal service to answer questions about ACTA and whether to ask the European Court of Justice an opinion on ACTA.

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What We Can Do to Improve Things

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

India protest

Summary: For technologists and so-called ‘consumers’ alike, we need to embrace a non-violent and minimally abrasive form of protest, including boycotts

CIVIL disobedience is one of the friendliest forms of protest (if it even qualifies as that). Boycott Novell would be elusive now that Novell no longer exists. People must remember that back in 2006 (and half of 2007) Novell was the only company that paid Microsoft for Linux; moreover, Novell did what no company to date has done. Novell actually used Microsoft’s patent accusations against Linux in order to sell its products. Novell was definitely the only company of its kind to boycott back then. When Samsung signed a patent deal covering Linux, then too we called for a boycott of Samsung. Novell was treated fairly compared to other companies, but now that Microsoft extorts many small Android vendors we need to rethink our strategy. Back in 2006 it was Novell that went to Microsoft looking to sign a deal; based on these days’ reports, it is Microsoft that goes hunting distributors of Android, so to vocally boycott those who are victims would be tactless. We urge people never to buy any products from companies that pay Microsoft for Linux (a boycott too is an effective form of protest), but at the same time we must stand up against US law and protest against software patents by ignoring their applicability, ridiculing them, and shaming politicians who help promote these. This is a polite form of protest, which is the only sort of protest we ever advocated in Techrights. It is most likely to be fruitful, but we sure expect to continue receiving flak. Someone has to do it.

Novell Pays Ponemon Institute, LLC, to Help Generate Fake News

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Novell at 4:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ponemon

Summary: Larry Ponemon’s firm, which sells bias, helps Novell seed some favourable coverage in news sites following a paid-for ‘study’ and paid-for press release

THE MOVEMENT known as “sceptics” (or skeptics for the north Americans) has grown rather popular. It is associated with developing critical skills that are derived to an extent from science, encouraging people to tell apart fake news from real news and facts from fiction (including so-called ‘conspiracy theories’). Here at Techrights we encourage everyone to take a critical look and remember the role of PR agencies. The PR industry in the United States alone is said to have a turnover of over one trillion dollars. It’s that industry which tells unsuspecting members of the public what products are “good”, what foreign policies are “good”, which companies are “good”, and which people are “good”. Bill Gates, for example, spends over one million dollars per day on PR, i.e. telling the world how wonderful he and the Gates Foundation are. It’s a really massive industry generating bias and making deliberate deception “acceptable” (because “everyone’s doing it!”). It’s why a lot of sociopaths happen to be affluent, even if they are not genuinely clever.

“It’s a really massive industry generating bias and making deliberate deception “acceptable” (because “everyone’s doing it!”).”While it is rare to see companies targeting Novell (whose future is just a trademark possibly to be abandoned), these still rarely exist and the company still has those rare press releases, from Provo even (not Boston). This new one for example is based on some claims Novell paid someone to make as means of generating promotional pseudo-articles (pasted press release) and exaggerated claims that help Novell make sales. That last one says: “The average cost of compliance associated with storing unstructured data is $2.1 million per year, according to a report prepared by the Ponemon Institute for software firm Novell.”

Another one repeats the same claims, which Novell merely bought. It’s not real research, it is tainted.

The Ponemon Institute conducted the research for networking vendor Novell, to look at the storage, control and compliance challenges that derive from the proliferation of unstructured data such as documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

Watch this Novell propaganda spreading:

The Ponemon Institute, on behalf of networking and data management firm Novell, looked at the compliance costs of managing business data at 100 firms.

How were those 100 firms selected? Did Novell put any strings on the finding? Any incentive to tilt it in one direction or another (e.g. for future contracts)? No journalist seems to be questioning those claims, just reposting them. It’s pure laziness. This is no better than PR, like like this new “Novell Customer Success Story” which is totally within Novell’s control (just like the Vibe PR blitz in YouTube, as we noted before). Novell is just trying to inject its idealogy into articles as well as inject product names like “Novell Identity Manager” into articles like this one. If this is the state of today’s journalism (no research, no days taken for independent audit of claims), then we are seriously in a miserable state of affairs. News just becomes surrogate for PR and here in Techrights we fought against shallow coverage about Novell, which mostly echoed Novell’s PR rather than investigate. If there is something people can take away from this site, it will hopefully be critical skills. It’s not just about Novell and we have decent wiki pages on this subject. These can be generalised. Had journalists done their job properly (covering, not promoting), Microsoft would not get so far with racketeering and Novell would probably avoid a treasonous deal with Microsoft.

“News of the World” is dead today, after well over a century. What a testament of our times.

Boycott Novell Concluded

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Novell at 4:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Remnants of Novell have moved to other companies; is it time to let the “Boycott Novell” project be declared over?

THERE IS not much left to say about Novell. The company more or less vanished, so for Boycott Novell to be an active project would be hard. Novell did not reform itself (it got worse over time), but the alternative goal was achieved. We hoped to make Novell change its ways, ideally, and withdraw from the Microsoft deal due to public pressure, otherwise to just fail and give way to ethical companies.

After spending hours researching for this post, we are left wondering if this is good use of time. Even Microsoft is an issue we mostly neglected with the exception of patent stories because a patent parasite is all we expect Microsoft to be within a few years.

Based on what we found about Novell, not much of its core is even passed to Attachmate. Instead, the new management is almost purely Attchmate’s. We’ll show and reiterate through some new evidence in a moment. Alka Agrawal departed from Novell based on this new article from the Indian press which says:

The panel comprised well known names in the Industry and included Sucharita Eashwar – Senior Director, NASSCOM; Vinita Ananth – CEO & Founder, Vangal; Alka Agrawal – former VP & Head of India Development Centre, Novell Inc and Pragjyoti Nair – Director, Program Management and Business Operations, Yahoo!.

Two more executives once employed by Novell have moved on and here we see that Novell’s Hale was in Microsoft and not just Novell. This is an interesting observation which is highlighted by Joe the VAR Guy. He says: “Hale — a veteran of Microsoft, Novell and F5 Networks — joined Sophos shortly after the Astaro acquisition was announced. In a recent interview, Hale told The VAR Guy that Astaro would remain channel-led under Sophos ownership. Bob Darabant, VP of Americas at Astaro, echoed those thoughts in a phone call with The VAR Guy earlier this week.”

There are some more examples of Novell management with Microsoft background. John Donovanhas moved from Novell to VMware, which is run by many former executives from Microsoft (high Microsoft roots density at the top management). Evidence can be seen here: “It was one of the things I wanted to do when I joined,” says John Donovan, who moved from Novell to become VMware’s ANZ channel director in November 2010. “I wanted to re-connect with a lot of our partners in a much more dynamic face-to-face fashion.”

The new VP of engineering at another company turns out to have also left Novell (it is not clear when, however):

Previously, Gacek held engineering management positions at Novell, VeriFone, Canon and VITALINK.

Here is another departure which we mentioned before and clear evidence that those who manage Novell’s residue are from Attachmate [1, 2, 3]. Some of these were mentioned before, but evidence reappears in the news. Mono got dumped, so there is just about nothing left in Attachmate which is FOSS.

Novell is sort of over. Can we leave it aside now and concentrate on other issue a little more? Dear readers, your feedback is needed.

Boycott Novell bus

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